A cervical disc herniation can be removed through an anterior approach to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. This procedure, called a cervical discectomy, allows the offending disc to be surgically removed.
Anterior cervical spinal fusion surgeries are commonly done in conjunction with an anterior cervical discectomy. For many patients, cervical spinal fusion surgery (fusing one vertebra to another) is often done to eliminate motion at a vertebral segment. Decreasing the motion at a painful motion segment should decrease the pain at that segment. Achieving the fusion also serves to maintain adequate space for the decompressed spinal cord and/or nerve roots.